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Australians in Papua New Guinea 1960-1975

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Australians in Papua New Guinea, provides a history of the late Australian years in Papua New Guinea through the eyes of thirteen Australian and four Papua New Guineans. The book presents the experiences of Australians who went to work in PNG over several decades before the 1970s.

Australians in Papua New Guinea begins with medical practitioners: Michael Alpers, Ken Clezy, Margaret Smith, Ian Maddocks and Anthony Radford (with accompanying reflections by wife, Robin) who grappled with complex medical issues in difficult surroundings. Other contributors—John Langmore, John Ley and Bill Brown—became experts in governance. The final group featured were involved in education and social change: Ken Inglis, Bill Gammage, and Christine Stewart. Papua New Guinean contributors: medical expert Sir Isi Henao Kevau, diplomats Charles Lepani and Dame Meg Taylor, and educator and politician Dame Carol Kidu further deepen the quality of this collection. A final reflection is provided by historian Jonathan Ritchie, himself part of an Australian family in PNG.

This extraordinary book balances expatriates with indigenous Papua New Guineans, balances gender, and pioneers an innovative combination of written reminiscences and interviews. The history of this important Pacific nation unfolds as do the histories of individuals who were involved in its formative decades.


Church and state in Tonga

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First published in 1974, Church and State in Tonga is a classic study of the formative period of modern Tongan history. The years covered are from the re-establishment of the Wesleyan Methodist mission in the 1820s until the promulgation of the Tongan constitution in 1875. The missionaries assumed the role of political advisors, but by the 1850s the missionary monopoly was undermined and what Sione Lātūkefu calls a “marriage of convenience” and an “alliance” began. The king became selective in the advice he accepted and took his own initiatives. Much of the book deals with the development of kingship and the emergence of written codes of law and the Constitution. The book is dedicated to Queen Sālote Tupou III who passed the traditions of the royal family to Lātūkefu, determined to impart her wealth of knowledge of the Tongan traditional past. Church and State in Tonga was the first substantial study by a Tongan of the history of the Tongan monarchy and government, a rich documentary study reinforced by knowledge of language, customs and traditions.


God's Gentlemen

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David Hilliard’s God’s Gentlemen, originally published in 1978, remains the only detached and detailed historical analysis of the work of the Melanesian Mission. Starting with its New Zealand beginnings and its Norfolk Island years (1867–1920), the work follows the Mission’s shift of headquarters to the Solomon Islands and on until the beginning of the Second World War. The Mission, which grew out of the personal vision of the first Church of England Bishop of New Zealand, George Selwyn, formally defined its field of work as ‘the Islands of Melanesia’ although its activities were confined almost entirely to the island groups that now make up Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. The Diocese of Melanesia was a fully constituent diocese of the Anglican Church of New Zealand from its formation in 1861 until the creation of the autonomous Church of the Province of Melanesia in 1975. Based on a wide range of sources, God’s Gentleman is the inner history of the slow growth of an important and genuinely Melanesian church.


Grass huts and warehouses

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Grass Huts and Warehouses is a pioneering study of early trade and beach communities in the Pacific Islands. First published in 1977, the book provided historians with an ambitious survey of early European-Polynesian contact, an analysis of how early trade developed along with the beachcomber community, and a detailed reconstruction of development of the early Pacific port towns. Set mainly in the first half of the nineteenth century, continuing in some cases for a few decades more, the book covers five ports: Kororareka (now Russell, in New Zealand), Levuka (Fiji), Apia (Samoa), Papeete (Tahiti) and Honolulu (Hawai`i). The role of beachcombers, the earliest European inhabitants, as well as the later consuls (commercial agents), and the development of plantation economies is successfully treated. The book is a tour-de-force, the first detailed comparative academic study of these early pre-colonial trading towns and their race relations. Ralston argues that the predominantly egalitarian towns where Islanders, beachcombers, traders, missionaries mixed, were largely harmonious, but this was undermined by later arrivals and larger populations.


Managing modernity in the Western Pacific

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Fast money schemes in Papua New Guinea, collectivities in rural Solomon Islands, gambling in the Cook Islands, and the Vanuatu tax haven—all feature in the interface between Pacific and global economies. Since the 1970s, Melanesian countries and their peoples have been beguiled by the prospect of economic development that would enable them to participate in a world market economic system. Access to global markets would provide the means to improve their standard of living, allowing them to take their places as independent nations in a modern world. Managing Modernity in the Western Pacific, edited by Mary Patterson and Martha Macintyre, takes a broad sweep through contemporary topics in Melanesian anthropology and ethnography. With nuanced and rigorous scholarship, it views contemporary debate on modernity in Melanesia within the context of the global economy and cultural capitalism. In particular, contributors assess local ideas about wealth, success, speculation and development and their connections to participation in institutions and activities generated by them. This innovative and accessible collection offers a new intersection between Western Pacific anthropology and global studies.


Papua New Guinea

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Published in 1976, Papua New Guinea was the first book to interpret the main events leading to Papua New Guinea’s independence. The 1960s and 1970s in Papua New Guinea were a time of ferment and great excitement as Australia’s Territory moved quickly towards independence in 1975. Don Woolford worked as a journalist in Papua New Guinea and wrote this account of the years of political development from the first general election for a representative House of Assembly in 1964 through to independence. They were years of transition when young Papua New Guineans such as Michael Somare, John Guise, Albert Maori Kiki, Julian Chan, Josephine Abaijah, John Kaputin, Leo Hannett, John Momis, and Matthias Toliman were making their marks. Woolford knew the key figures – he covered the tours of two Australian prime ministers – and had access to highly ephemeral literature produced for the moment; material that is no longer available. Don Woolford was an accurate and passionate observer of these remarkable years, and writes with immediacy and style.


Race and Politics in Fiji

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Robert Norton’s Race and Politics in Fiji, first published in 1977, drew upon the author’s fieldwork in Fiji to develop the first serious and sustained study of politics in Fiji. An exercise in political anthropology, it was republished by UQP in 1990, but the essential argument remained much the same: the author sought to understand how political accommodation was achieved in Fiji despite deep ethnic and social cleavages. Why was Fiji able to escape the ethnic violence and turbulence that characterised other ethnically divided societies, such as Guyana? The answer lay in avoiding open competition for power at the ballot box. Instead, the principal political actors accepted the realities of the existing social and ethnic cleavages and sought to work with them. As Norton observes, ‘The recognition of racial division as a necessary framework for cooperation has become the major principle of social and political integration in Fiji’. Norton’s study of politics in Fiji is a critical piece of scholarship on late colonial Fiji.


Tax Havens

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Tax Havens and Sovereignty in the Pacific Islands surveys the timely, important and controversial topic of Pacific Islands tax havens – havens currently holding hundreds of billions of dollars.


The Chiefs' Country: Leadership and Politics in Honiara, Solomon Islands

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In this autobiographical account of life in Honiara, capital of Solomon Islands, Michael Kwa’ioloa reflects on the challenges of raising a family in town, managing marriage exchanges, and sustaining ties with a distant rural homeland in Malaita island


The Samoan Tangle

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When Hugh Laracy reviewed this book in The Journal of Pacific History in 1978 he rightly described it as the ‘product of monumental research’. Exploring the diplomatic negotiations that led to the division of the Samoan Islands between Germany, Great Britain and the USA in 1899, it is a significant study of international relations between the three late nineteenth century super powers. The Pacific Islands were pawns in an international diplomatic chess game that involved Britain’s early, but often unwilling, acquisition of Pacific territory; Germany’s scramble to get its share to bolster its prestige and trading interests; and the USA’s late, but insistent, demands for its place in the Pacific. What emerges in The Samoan Tangle is a detailed study of late nineteenth century international relations that reminds us how often the Pacific Islands have been used to satisfy great power plays on the other side of the globe.


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